Does the shape of the wine glass really mat­ter?

The Advance of Bucks County - - BUSINESS -

Chris­tine Car­roll is a colum­nist for Wines and Vines Mag­a­zine in San Rafael, Cal­i­for­nia. She is also one of the Srin­ciSDlV Rf CrRVVing VineyDrdV Dnd :in­ery, D fRrPer Rf­fi­cer of the Penn­syl­va­nia Win­ery As­so­ci­a­tion’s Board of Direc­tors and former Sec­re­tary of the Bucks County Wine Trail. You can

con­tact her at: [email protected]­ingvine­yards.com

Does the shape of the glass make a dif­fer­ence in the way wine tastes? The an­swer, in a word, is yes. And I can prove it. Bet­ter yet, you can prove it for your­self.

Full Dis­clo­sure: I have been a sup­porter of Riedel glass­ware for many years, and I’m sure my prej­u­dice will be ev­i­dent in this ar­ti­cle. True, many com­pa­nies now of­fer glasses molded into the “proper” shapes, but in my ex­pe­ri­ence, Riedel is the best.

I ap­proached my first Riedel Tast­ing with an at­ti­tude. This whole shape thing had to be hype… a mar­ket­ing ploy to get in­se­cure peo­ple to over­pay for an over­priced prod­uct. I mean the Ital­ians drink their wine from water tum­blers. So why would I want to spend 50 bucks for one glass?

When I sat down at the ta­ble for my Riedel Tast­ing with the dif­fer­ent shaped glasses lined up in front of me, I was loaded for bear. What a bunch of…. grapes!

As I went through the process, which in­volved tast­ing cer­tain va­ri­etals from the “wrong” Riedel glass, then a non-Riedel glass, then the “right” Riedel glass, my skep­ti­cism waivered. Each va­ri­etal tasted not just bet­ter, but to­tally dif­fer­ent, in the proper Riedel glass. And the wine not only tasted bet­ter, it ac­tu­ally looked bet­ter.

Af­ter the tast­ing I was con­vinced. Sort of. Wasn’t the proof, af­ter all, in the (you should par­don the ex­pres­sion) pud­ding? I ac­cepted the em­pir­i­cal ev­i­dence, but a nag­ging ques­tion re­mained. “Why”?

So like any good jour­nal­ist I did my re­search. Here is what I found:

• Pro­fes­sor Claus Riedel was the first de­signer to rec­og­nize that the shape of a glass af­fects a wine’s bou­quet, taste, bal­ance and fin­ish. He devel­oped a new line of stemware based on the Bauhaus de­sign prin­ci­ple: form fol­lows func­tion.

• In 1961 Riedel pub­lished a cat­a­logue fea­tur­ing the first line of wine glasses in dif­fer­ent sizes and shapes. Be­fore that time, stemware had used a ba­sic bowl shape.

• When wine is poured, it im­me­di­ately starts to evap­o­rate, and its aro­mas quickly fill the glass in lay­ers ac­cord­ing to their den­sity and spe­cific grav­ity. That is how the size and shape of the glass can be fine tuned to the typ­i­cal aro­mas of dif­fer­ent grape va­ri­eties.

• The light­est, most frag­ile aro­mas rise to the rim of the glass; the mid­dle fills with earthy and veg­e­tal scents and the heav­i­est aro­mas re­main at the bot­tom. Swirling in­creases the evap­o­ra­tion and in­ten­sity of aro­mas, but does not en­cour­age el­e­ments to blend to­gether.

• The ini­tial point of con­tact de­pends on the shape and vol­ume of the glass, the di­am­e­ter of the rim and its fin­ish, whether a cut and pol­ished edge or a rolled edge. Based on the shape of the glass, the wine flows to the ap­pro­pri­ate place on the tongue.

• The shape of the glass forces the head to po­si­tion it­self in such a way that you drink and do not spill. Wide, open glasses re­quire us to sip by low­er­ing the head, whereas a nar­row rim forces the head to tilt back­ward so that the liq­uid flows there be­cause of its grav­ity. This de­liv­ers and po­si­tions the bev­er­age to dif­fer­ent taste zones on the palate.

• There are four taste zones in the mouth: Sweet reg­is­ters on the front of the tongue; Sour on the sides; Bit­ter in the back; Salty in the mid­dle.

Fi­nally I had a sen­sory ex­pla­na­tion for the phe­nom­e­non I had ex­pe­ri­enced. Now I am no sci­en­tist, but I am a wine lover, and as far as I’m con­cerned, there is no doubt. Wine just tastes and looks bet­ter in the proper shaped glass.

If you would like to prove this “the­ory” for your­self, set up an ab­bre­vi­ated form of the Riedel Tast­ing.

Use a Riedel Ou­ver­ture Se­ries Chardon­nay glass. (The Ou­ver­ture line is one of Riedel’s most af­ford­able.) Here is what the glasses should look like, white on the left, red on the right:

First, pour Chardon­nay into a Riedel Chardon­nay (white wine) glass. Taste it, then pour the wine into a Riedel Bordeaux (red wine) glass. Taste it, then pour the wine into non-Riedel glass. (Any glass or shape will do.) Taste it, then pour the wine into a Riedel Chardon­nay glass again. Taste it, then make your own eval­u­a­tion as to which glass the Chardon­nay looks and tastes bet­ter in.

Next, pour a hearty red wine (prefer­ably a Caber­net or Bordeaux blend) into a Riedel Bordeaux (red wine) glass. Taste it, then pour the wine into a Riedel Chardon­nay (white wine) glass. Taste it, then pour the wine into a non-Riedel glass. (Any glass or shape will do.) Taste it, then pour the wine back into a Riedel Bordeaux glass. Taste it, then make your own eval­u­a­tion as to which glass the Caber­net or Bordeaux blend looks and tastes bet­ter in.

Does the shape of a wine glass really mat­ter? If you’re a wine lover like me, the an­swer is a re­sound­ing Yes!

If you would like learn more about Riedel glass­ware, sign up for “A Wine Tast­ing in Riedel Crys­tal,” at Cross­ing sine­yards and Win­ery on Fe­bru­ary 10 at 2 p.m. The cost is $99 and in­cludes a Tast­ing Kit with 4 Riedel glasses (Re­tail salue $125).

Call for reser­va­tions (215493-6500, ext.19, or buy on­line: www.cross­ingvine­yards. com)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.